Tumut remembers

ALL living generations of Tumut residents were represented at Friday’s Remembrance Day service at Richmond Park.

All had different reasons to be there, but a common cause, to mark the 98th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I, a war that caused a staggering amount of Australian casualties.

Tumut RSL Sub-Brach secretary Ken Fitzgerald said it was a day when “we stop what we are doing, and say we are going to remember you blokes, especially for those who didn’t come back.”

“It is about maintaining a commitment the RSL made to servicemen and women years ago,” he said.

Tumut RSL president and Royal Australian Navy veteran Ernst Power said the service was “a continuation of the RSL tradition of remembering those fallen for our freedom.”

In his address to those gathered at service, Tumut RSL Sub-Branch president Robert Watson said World War I had been Australia’s greatest-ever tragedy.

“We gather in this place never to forget the men and women killed or wounded in the service of the country,” he said.

All Tumut schools were represented, school students Kiera Beaven (Tumut High School) and Asha Murray (McAuley Catholic Central School) recited the poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.

Former Tumut Mayor Trina Thomson was remembering her father Patrick Cruise, who served as a signalman in New Guinea in World War II, and his good mate and fellow soldier Matthew Slavich.

The two men remained great friends and passed away within a day of each other in 2015.

Anne Browning remembered three uncles who went to Gallipoli and fortunately came back, but more so her father Walter Sheaffe, who served in Malaya and Singapore in World War II, was captured and incarcerated in the notorious Changi prison, then the Thai-Burma Railway and then a copper mine in Japan.

He only just made it there, as the prison ships in front of and behind his were torpedoed and sunk on the way.

It was in the copper mine, underground, where he was when, 30km away, the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima.

He survived, made it back home, and passed away in Tumut in 2012.